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Mark Twain > Christian Science > Book I - Chapter VII

Christian Science

Book I - Chapter VII


"We consciously declare that Science and Health, with Key to the
Scriptures, was foretold, as well as its author, Mary Baker Eddy, in
Revelation x. She is the 'mighty angel,' or God's highest thought to
this age (verse 1), giving us the spiritual interpretation of the Bible
in the 'little book open' (verse 2). Thus we prove that Christian
Science is the second coming of Christ-Truth-Spirit."--Lecture by Dr.
George Tomkins, D.D. C.S.

There you have it in plain speech. She is the mighty angel; she is the
divinely and officially sent bearer of God's highest thought. For the
present, she brings the Second Advent. We must expect that before she
has been in her grave fifty years she will be regarded by her following
as having been herself the Second Advent. She is already worshiped, and
we must expect this feeling to spread, territorially, and also to deepen
in intensity.

Particularly after her death; for then, as any one can foresee, Eddy-
Worship will be taught in the Sunday-schools and pulpits of the cult.
Already whatever she puts her trade-mark on, though it be only a
memorial-spoon, is holy and is eagerly and gratefully bought by the
disciple, and becomes a fetish in his house. I say bought, for the
Boston Christian-Science Trust gives nothing away; everything it has is
for sale. And the terms are cash; and not only cash, but cash in
advance. Its god is Mrs. Eddy first, then the Dollar. Not a spiritual
Dollar, but a real one. From end to end of the Christian Science
literature not a single (material) thing in the world is conceded to be
real, except the Dollar. But all through and through its advertisements
that reality is eagerly and persistently recognized.

The Dollar is hunted down in all sorts of ways; the Christian-Science
Mother-Church and Bargain-Counter in Boston peddles all kinds of
spiritual wares to the faithful, and always on the one condition--cash,
cash in advance. The Angel of the Apocalypse could not go there and get
a copy of his own pirated book on credit. Many, many precious Christian-
Science things are to be had there for cash: Bible Lessons; Church
Manual; C. S. Hymnal; History of the building of the Mother-Church; lot
of Sermons; Communion Hymn, "Saw Ye My Saviour," by Mrs. Eddy, half a
dollar a copy, "words used by special permission of Mrs. Eddy." Also we
have Mrs. Eddy's and the Angel's little Blue-Annex in eight styles of
binding at eight kinds of war-prices; among these a sweet thing in
"levant, divinity circuit, leather lined to edge, round corners, gold
edge, silk sewed, each, prepaid, $6," and if you take a million you get
them a shilling cheaper--that is to say, "prepaid, $5.75." Also we have
Mrs. Eddy's Miscellaneous Writings, at 'andsome big prices, the divinity-
circuit style heading the exertions, shilling discount where you take an
edition Next comes Christ and Christmas, by the fertile Mrs. Eddy--a
poem--would God I could see it!--price $3, cash in advance. Then
follow five more books by Mrs. Eddy, at highwayman's rates, some of them
in "leatherette covers," some of them in "pebble cloth," with divinity-
circuit, compensation-balance, twin-screw, and the other modern
improvements; and at the same bargain-counter can be had The Christian
Science Journal.

Christian-Science literary discharges are a monopoly of the Mother-Church
Headquarters Factory in Boston; none genuine without the trade-mark of
the Trust. You must apply there and not elsewhere.

One hundred dollars for it. And I have a case among my statistics where
the student had a three weeks' course and paid three hundred for it.

The Trust does love the Dollar, when it isn't a spiritual one.

In order to force the sale of Mrs Eddy's Bible-Annex, no healer,
Metaphysical-College-bred or other, is allowed to practice the game
unless he possesses a copy of that book. That means a large and
constantly augmenting income for the Trust. No C.S. family would
consider itself loyal or pious or pain-proof without an Annex or two in
the house. That means an income for the Trust, in the near future, of
millions; not thousands-millions a year.

No member, young or old, of a branch Christian-Scientist church can
acquire and retain membership in the Mother-Church unless he pay
"capitation tax" (of "not less than a dollar," say the By-Laws) to the
Boston Trust every year. That means an income for the Trust, in the near
future, of--let us venture to say--millions more per year.

It is a reasonably safe guess that in America in 1920 there will be ten
million Christian Scientists, and three millions in Great Britain; that
these figures will be trebled in 1930; that in America in 1920 the
Christian Scientists will be a political force, in 1930 politically
formidable, and in 1940 the governing power in the Republic--to remain
that, permanently. And I think it a reasonable guess that the Trust
(which is already in our day pretty brusque in its ways) will then be the
most insolent and unscrupulous and tyrannical politico-religious master
that has dominated a people since the palmy days of the Inquisition. And
a stronger master than the strongest of bygone times, because this one
will have a financial strength not dreamed of by any predecessor; as
effective a concentration of irresponsible power as any predecessor has
had; in the railway, the telegraph, and the subsidized newspaper, better
facilities for watching and managing his empire than any predecessor has
had; and, after a generation or two, he will probably divide Christendom
with the Catholic Church.

The Roman Church has a perfect organization, and it has an effective
centralization of power--but not of its cash. Its multitude of Bishops
are rich, but their riches remain in large measure in their own hands.
They collect from two hundred millions of people, but they keep the bulk
of the result at home. The Boston Pope of by-and-by will draw his
dollar-a-head capitation-tax from three hundred millions of the human
race, and the Annex and the rest of his book-shop stock will fetch in as
much more; and his Metaphysical Colleges, the annual Pilgrimage to Mrs.
Eddy's tomb, from all over the world-admission, the Christian-Science
Dollar (payable in advance)--purchases of consecrated glass beads,
candles, memorial spoons, aureoled chrome-portraits and bogus autographs
of Mrs. Eddy; cash offerings at her shrine no crutches of cured cripples
received, and no imitations of miraculously restored broken legs and
necks allowed to be hung up except when made out of the Holy Metal and
proved by fire-assay; cash for miracles worked at the tomb: these money-
sources, with a thousand to be yet invented and ambushed upon the
devotee, will bring the annual increment well up above a billion. And
nobody but the Trust will have the handling of it. In that day, the
Trust will monopolize the manufacture and sale of the Old and New
Testaments as well as the Annex, and raise their price to Annex rates,
and compel the devotee to buy (for even to-day a healer has to have the
Annex and the Scriptures or he is not allowed to work the game), and that
will bring several hundred million dollars more. In those days, the
Trust will have an income approaching five million dollars a day, and no
expenses to be taken out of it; no taxes to pay, and no charities to
support. That last detail should not be lightly passed over by the
reader; it is well entitled to attention.

No charities to support. No, nor even to contribute to. One searches in
vain the Trust's advertisements and the utterances of its organs for any
suggestion that it spends a penny on orphans, widows, discharged
prisoners, hospitals, ragged schools, night missions, city missions,
libraries, old people's homes, or any other object that appeals to a
human being's purse through his heart.

I have hunted, hunted, and hunted, by correspondence and otherwise, and
have not yet got upon the track of a farthing that the Trust has spent
upon any worthy object. Nothing makes a Scientist so uncomfortable as to
ask him if he knows of a case where Christian Science has spent money on
a benevolence, either among its own adherents or elsewhere. He is
obliged to say "No" And then one discovers that the person questioned has
been asked the question many times before, and that it is getting to be a
sore subject with him. Why a sore subject? Because he has written his
chiefs and asked with high confidence for an answer that will confound
these questioners--and the chiefs did not reply. He has written again,
and then again--not with confidence, but humbly, now--and has begged for
defensive ammunition in the voice of supplication. A reply does at last
come to this effect: "We must have faith in Our Mother, and rest content
in the conviction that whatever She does with the money it is in
accordance with orders from Heaven, for She does no act of any kind
without first 'demonstrating over' it."

That settles it--as far as the disciple is concerned. His mind is
satisfied with that answer; he gets down his Annex and does an
incantation or two, and that mesmerizes his spirit and puts that to
sleep--brings it peace. Peace and comfort and joy, until some inquirer
punctures the old sore again.

Through friends in America I asked some questions, and in some cases got
definite and informing answers; in other cases the answers were not
definite and not valuable. To the question, "Does any of the money go to
charities?" the answer from an authoritative source was: "No, not in the
sense usually conveyed by this word." (The italics are mine.) That
answer is cautious. But definite, I think--utterly and unassailably
definite--although quite Christian-Scientifically foggy in its phrasing.
Christian-Science testimony is generally foggy, generally diffuse,
generally garrulous. The writer was aware that the first word in his
phrase answered the question which I was asking, but he could not help
adding nine dark words. Meaningless ones, unless explained by him. It
is quite likely, as intimated by him, that Christian Science has invented
a new class of objects to apply the word "charity" to, but without an
explanation we cannot know what they are. We quite easily and naturally
and confidently guess that they are in all cases objects which will
return five hundred per cent. on the Trust's investment in them, but
guessing is not knowledge; it is merely, in this case, a sort of nine-
tenths certainty deducible from what we think we know of the Trust's
trade principles and its sly and furtive and shifty ways.

Sly? Deep? Judicious? The Trust understands its business. The Trust
does not give itself away. It defeats all the attempts of us
impertinents to get at its trade secrets. To this day, after all our
diligence, we have not been able to get it to confess what it does with
the money. It does not even let its own disciples find out. All it says
is, that the matter has been "demonstrated over." Now and then a lay
Scientist says, with a grateful exultation, that Mrs. Eddy is enormously
rich, but he stops there; as to whether any of the money goes to other
charities or not, he is obliged to admit that he does not know. However,
the Trust is composed of human beings; and this justifies the conjecture
that if it had a charity on its list which it was proud of, we should
soon hear of it.

"Without money and without price." Those used to be the terms. Mrs.
Eddy's Annex cancels them. The motto of Christian Science is, "The
laborer is worthy of his hire." And now that it has been "demonstrated
over," we find its spiritual meaning to be, "Do anything and everything
your hand may find to do; and charge cash for it, and collect the money
in advance." The Scientist has on his tongue's end a cut-and-dried,
Boston-supplied set of rather lean arguments, whose function is to show
that it is a Heaven-commanded duty to do this, and that the croupiers of
the game have no choice but to obey.

The Trust seems to be a reincarnation. Exodus xxxii. 4.

I have no reverence for the Trust, but I am not lacking in reverence for
the sincerities of the lay membership of the new Church. There is every
evidence that the lay members are entirely sincere in their faith, and I
think sincerity is always entitled to honor and respect, let the
inspiration of the sincerity be what it may. Zeal and sincerity can
carry a new religion further than any other missionary except fire and
sword, and I believe that the new religion will conquer the half of
Christendom in a hundred years. I am not intending this as a compliment
to the human race; I am merely stating an opinion. And yet I think that
perhaps it is a compliment to the race. I keep in mind that saying of an
orthodox preacher--quoted further back. He conceded that this new
Christianity frees its possessor's life from frets, fears, vexations,
bitterness, and all sorts of imagination-propagated maladies and pains,
and fills his world with sunshine and his heart with gladness. If
Christian Science, with this stupendous equipment--and final salvation
added--cannot win half the Christian globe, I must be badly mistaken in
the make-up of the human race.

I think the Trust will be handed down like Me other Papacy, and will
always know how to handle its limitless cash. It will press the button;
the zeal, the energy, the sincerity, the enthusiasm of its countless
vassals will do the rest.

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